A few weeks ago I outlined how I was working on my habits. This started in early August when I attended a conference in San Diego and heard Shawn Achor speak (author of The Happiness Advantage). At the time, I made an entry in a notebook, intending to introduce one new habit every 21 days. Four of the habits came directly from Achor's speech, the 5th habit came from a book I'd read on the flight south (which mentioned the 6am Club). This week I finally got around to introducing the final 5th habit, and it seems to have more impact than the others.
Before I get to that, let me review the other four habits, and how far I've come to this point. It is December 9th, 2013. *121 days ago I started with The Doubler, and have written about the most meaningful experience of the previous 24 hours, 119 out of those 121 days.
I think that qualifies it as a habit now. 119 days ago I started writing out what I'm grateful for. (I know, I didn't wait 21 days to institute the second habit.) Anyway, I've now written out my Gratitudes 117/119 days. In both cases, I've done those exercises for 79 straight days now.
63 days ago I started getting up at 6am or earlier. To date, I've been up at 6am or earlier 59/63 days, and 54 days in a row now. Yes, Sundays and holidays too. With regard to Meditation, I do my own 'version' of that, and started 62 days ago. I've been doing so 62/62 days.
As mentioned in my previous blog post I've also instituted a number of other additional habits that weren't on my original list of five, but it wasn't until this week that I started to focus deliberately on Acts of Kindness. I don't know why it took so long. It just happened that way.
But already it seems that this 5th habit has the most impact on my own happiness.
The acts of kindness I'm referring to are not toward people I know. They might not be witnessed by anyone when they happen, or necessarily be for anyone specifically. I actually don't want to speak too much more about this. It feels deeply personal and I don't think the impact can be conveyed by writing about it. Suffice to say that I have not been 'habitually kind to strangers' throughout my life. The early results seem to indicate there's a rather different planet out there than the one I've been living on.
The experiment continues...
*I have a card on my credenza that says "Commit Perform Measure". I believe you cannot improve what you don't measure, thus the statistical tracking.
**Shawn Achor says "Happiness is a choice". That's why I wrote the words "choice habits."